Ramadan Kareem and Qaranqasho

Here we go again, it's Ramadan in Oman once again. This will be my 7th one here in Oman - I hope you all have a good one. I've never really understood why, but much like Christmas Tree's in shops everywhere at Christmas, in supermarkets here for Ramadan it's Vimto pyramids, and the obligatory multi-pack offers on Foster Clarks cake and jelly mixes.

A Vimto pyramid

For those observing Ramadan, I hope the summer heat doesn't make it too hard for you, and for those not observing Ramadan, make an effort to keep your consumption out of sight, and smell(!) of those who are fasting.

Now, a Dubai based film company emailed me last night asking if I could ask here on the blog to help them out. They're making a documentary about Qaranqasho and are looking for Omani families with kids to feature in their film. Qaranqasho, also sometimes known as garangashooh or Al-Talbah is, in its basic form, essentially Halloween. Kids run around neighbourhoods on the middle night of Ramadan (14th night) and ask their neighbours for candy. The apparently sing a song which when translated goes like this:

“Qaranqasho, O’ people, give us candy –
[So we may] stuff our mandoos (a chest used to store things),
while we go from neighbourhood to neighbourhood”

It ends if candy is offered, or else the song continues:
“[May a] Chinese lady appear infront of your house,
and a female demon in your backyard,”

I found that explanation on Noorjan's blog (seems to be semi-retired now) - also she goes on to say that if candy isn't offered, eggs or tomatoes get thrown! Not really sure why it's a Chinese lady either!

Anyway - below is the message from Eva at Veritas Films:

Looking for Omani families for Qaranqasho documentary! Please contact me ASAP!

Veritas Films is looking for Omani families who will celebrate Qaranqasho and who are interested to be filmed in our documentary with at least one of their children to describe the experience. This will be a very positive and fun film, for Arabic children and their families to watch together to learn about this tradition, how it is celebrated throughout the gulf, and how the tradition has changed over the generations. Please nominate yourself or pass this info to your friends or family ASAP (today, 10th July). We will discuss the project by phone, come to meet you soon, and then film in mid-Ramadan. Please contact Veritas Films ASAP on eva@veritasfilms.ae.

le fin.
Ramadan Kareem and Qaranqasho Ramadan Kareem and Qaranqasho Reviewed by Sythe on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. Linoleum Surfer has posted a great monologue about the opening of restaurants during ramadan but I don't have any way of posting a comment there and as this thread is also about ramadan I shall post my reply here!

    Lino- I call it the pussicfication process. The original intent of ramadan is to strengthen belief in religion and to make oneself a stronger person.
    Life should go on as normal and the more temptation is denied, the stronger the bond.
    Taking away the possibility to eat and drink does not strengthen- it softens. We see this by the fact that as soon as the sun goes down everywhere turns into an epicurial orgy of consumption and waste that lasts into the early hours.
    The day has effectively been turned inside out and the only effect is to turn the place into an economic quagmire for a month (not including the slow descent pre-ramadan and the three weeks after as people go away for Eid or take holidays.
    As His Majesty once said, 'Why do we close bars during ramadan when Muslims don't drink anyway?'

    Great post by the way and I hope I haven't reflected too much negativity during a time of peace.

    The post is here by the way:

  2. Hi for Muscat Mutterings. I just wanted to clarify one thing about the Qaranqashoo song: The line goes:
    In front of your house is a "Siniya" and behind your house is a "Jinniya". Siniya could technically mean a Chinese lady but the word is used in Oman also for a tray. Jinniya is a female demon. So people have the choice to fill the tray (of the kids) in front of their house or be haunted by the demon behind it. Hope this clarifies things. Also Qaranqashoo differs from Halloween in that kids wear normal or traditional Omani clothes rather than dressing up in costumes. We're looking forward to it.


This is a free blog hosted in the USA, comments are not moderated and should be treated as individual observations made by the commenter, they are not the views of the author of this blog unless specifically noted as such (eg a comment posted under the account of the blog owner). Should an individual or company wish a specific comment(s) removed please contact me at mrsythe[at]gmail[dot]com and inform me and I will delete it as soon as I read the email.

Powered by Blogger.